IODP core curation in KCC

The Kochi Core Center (KCC) is located in the Monobe campus of the Kochi University, Nankoku, Japan. The center houses not only the IODP core repository but also many state-of-the-art analytical equipment for core sample analyses. As of Jan. 2015, the repository stores ca. 105 km of DSDP, ODP, and IODP cores from the Indian Ocean, the western Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea. In addition to cores, the KCC stores cuttings, deep-frozen core samples, thin section, smear slide, and core sample residues.
The KCC hosts tours to promote educational use of the cores. The repository maintains close links with the other 2 IODP core repositories, the BCR, Bremen, Germany and the GCR, Texas, USA.

Obtaining Samples
One of the main functions of the KCC is to provide curatorial service to the international scientific community. Scientists may obtain samples by submitting a sample request in a database. Scientists should familiarize themselves with the IODP sample and data obligations policy before requesting samples. Curator may provide advice and guidance to the scientist when considering sample volumes and frequencies as well as relevant information about previous sample requests and resultant studies on specific core intervals. Soon after submitting a request, you will receive an acknowledgement email with a unique sample request number. The request will be reviewed and approved by the Curator or Curatorial Advisory Board (CAB). If you wish to visit the repository to view and sample cores yourself, please specify this in your request, otherwise the repository staff will sample the cores for you. Visitors can use some of the logging equipment like XCT scanner, XRF core logger, MSCL, core split surface imager, microscopes, etc. in the repository. Visitors should contact the repository staff before making travel arrangements to ensure that sampling tables/equipment are available during their visit.

Core Storage
• Cores are stored in reefers (refrigerated storage areas) currently in operation at the KCC. The reefers are maintained at temperature of ca. 4°C and 80% humidity. Temperature and humidity are monitored regularly by digital as well as analog instruments. If any irregularity is noticed, technical staff takes action to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

• Cores in the reefers are routinely stored in plastic D-tubes housed in galvanized racks. Cores drilled by the D/V Chikyu are stored in core cases. Each case can hold 6 or more core sections depending upon section length. The D-tubes and sections in a core case are bagged in zip-lock tough plastic bags to prevent any damage from tsunami water. The lower half of the core rack is populated with working halves, while the upper half holds the corresponding archive halves.

• Either onboard ship or in the repository, sediment cores are either shrink wrapped or vacuum sealed in a plastic film, which is a multilayer barrier film. The film is an excellent barrier to water vapor and oxygen transmission, and is transparent making it a good choice for core preservation.

• Hard rock cores are received from the ship already wrapped in a shrink film. The film is used to hold rock pieces in place in the core liner during transit and storage.

• Core-zo software is used to keep track of core sections being taken out from and brought in the reefers. This software also keeps storage location information of each core section in the reefers.

Core Sampling
• When filling a sample request cores are picked from their storage locations in the reefers and loaded onto core carts which are then taken into the sampling room. Each core section is scanned with a hand held scanner to record in the database (Core-zo) that it has been taken out from the reefer. Each core section is then removed from its D-tube or core case, and placed on a specially designed core table. Shrink wrap is either removed entirely or cut open at certain intervals depending upon the frequency of sampling. Note: Nitrile powder free gloves are available for use by the core sampler.

• Prior to taking a sample from the core, sample volume and interval are recorded in the J-CORES database, and a bar-coded label is printed. After a sample is removed from the core, the void left behind is filled with a pre-cut virgin ethafoam spacer that helps maintain the shape and form of the remaining core material.

• Sampled cores are rewrapped in shrink film or the film is taped depending upon frequency of sampling. Shrink wrapped or taped sections are returned to their D-tubes or core cases and cart, scanned and recorded by the Core-zo software, and then returned to their storage locations in the reefers.

• If sampling of the cores is not completed by close of business, the cart is returned to the reefer for overnight storage after scanning each core section with the Core-zo software. Cores and samples are not left out in the sampling room overnight.

• Various sampling tools are available in the repository. Depending upon the nature of core material and volume required for research work, samples can be taken by plastic scoops, tubes, spatulas, PMAG cubes, U-channel, rock cuter, etc..

• Each sample taken from a core is labeled, bagged, sealed, and bar-code scanned before shipping. In order to show status of remaining material, sampled core sections are scanned regularly, and core images are made available through the website:

• If cores are required for display purposes and are left exposed on the core tables for any length of time, they are kept wrapped unless a special request is made in which case they are opened for a short viewing period and then re-wrapped immediately.

Sample Residues
Sample residues received from the ship are preserved in plastic boxes, labeled according to Expedition and stored on special shelves in the reefers. A list of all residues is maintained in the repository for making the residues readily available if requested.

Returned Samples
Returned samples are sorted by Expedition and stored in plastic or cardboard boxes in air-conditioned containers or in reefers on case-by-case basis. A list of all returned samples is maintained in the repository for making these available if requested.

Cuttings Samples
Riser drilling by the D/V Chikyu yields “fragments of rocks” (cuttings) from various depths of seafloor. The cuttings are recovered with drill mud onboard ship, and stored in unwashed and washed condition. Washed cuttings are often sieved and divided into various size fractions (0.25 – 1 mm, 1 – 4 mm and > 4 mm). Cuttings received from the ship are sorted by Expedition and stored in core cases or plastic boxes in the reefers.

Deep Frozen Samples
• Deep frozen core samples (RMS or DeepBIOS) are shipped directly to the repository from the ship. The samples are packed in special boxes on dry ice. As soon as they are received in repository, the samples are inventoried and transferred to a –80°C chest freezer and an aliquot of them goes into liquid N2 cooled (-160˚C) tanks. After the moratorium, information detailing the location of the samples is published on-line:

• In case of a power outage, the freezers are connected to back-up generator. If a mechanical failure occurs, the freezers have audible alarms that sound when the temperature exceeds –65°C. The freezers are also attached to a system that notifies the curatorial staff by telephone about the situation.

Thin Sections
• Thin sections are shipped to the repository directly from the ship. Once at the KCC, they are inventoried and stored in purpose built cabinets.

• The thin sections are available to scientists on loan for a period of up to 1 year under the terms of an executed loan agreement. Scientists may not forward thin sections to other scientists (see details in Section A.8.)

Smear Slides
Smear slides are shipped to the repository directly from the ship. Once at the KCC, they are inventoried and stored in purpose built cabinets. The smear slides are available to scientists on loan for a period of no more than 1 year under the terms of an executed loan agreement.

• U-channels are routinely taken post cruise, at the repository, by the requestor.

• Once the U-channel is cut from the core, a pre-cut virgin ethafoam spacer is used to fill the void.

• The U-channels are packed in cardboard boxes or D-tubes or core cases prior to shipping. Wooden (wood approved for international shipping) shipping crates or plastic boxes are specially made to protect the fragile U-channels during shipping and facilitate their safe return to the repository.

• In order to receive the U-channels, a loan agreement is executed by the requestor accepting a loan term of 1 year and agreeing to keep the U-channels, for the duration of the loan, in a suitable refrigerated storage facility.

• No sub-sampling is permitted from the U-channels unless by prior agreement.

• When U-channels are returned to the KCC by the investigator, they are stored in the reefers.

Core Loans
Core loans may be requested by individuals for a number of reasons including XRF and XCT scanning; museum displays; educational request; etc. The terms of core loans vary by the terms and conditions of each specific request and must be approved by the Curator or Curatorial Advisory Board (CAB).

Sample and shipping costs
For most requests, the cost of sampling and shipping samples to scientists is paid for completely by the repository. Certain large and expensive shipments may require some cost sharing by scientists. Scientists must pay full cost of returning unused samples and residues to the repository.

Please return all unused samples to the respective core repositories (BCR or GCR or KCC).

Sample Availability Check
Cores sampled at the KCC are routinely scanned by a surface image scanner, and the images are uploaded into a database, which is accessible through internet ( It can help prospective sample requesters to get an idea about the core material available for their research.

Virtual Core Viewer
Cores collected by the D/V Chikyu are scanned by XCT on board ship. In collaboration with the University of Tsukuba, KCC has developed a software called Virtual Core Viewer to visualize the 3-D images of core sections by using the XCT data on PC, tablets and smart phones. For more information click here.

IODP Sample and Data Policies
There are a number of IODP policies that govern the use of IODP sample and data. Scientists are advised to familiarize themselves with these policies prior to requesting IODP sample or data. The policies are available online at the website:

KCC Resources
• Cores stored at the KCC: DSDP Legs: 6 (Sites 53–54, 60), 19 (Sites 184–191), 21 (Sites 203, 205–210), 22–27, 28 (Sites 264–267), 29 (Sites 280–284), 30 (Sites 285–287), 31, 56–60, 87, 90 (Sites 587–593) ODP Legs: 115–118, 119 (Sites 736–738, 745–746), 120–123, 124 (Sites 767–773, 775), 125–128, 131, 132 (Site 809), 133–135, 176, 179–180, 182–184, 186, 187, 189–190, 193–196 IODP Exp: 314–316, 319, 322, 323, 325, 331, 333, 337, 338, 343, 346, 348-356, 359-363, 365, 366, 370

• Key information about these cores is available through the internet

• Please contact repository staff if you wish to view close-up photos of specific core intervals before visiting the KCC or submitting a sample request.

The KCC staff look forward to your visit !




Page Top